Tributes have been paid to a well-respected businessman, community figure and Freeman of the Borough.
Geoffrey Hanson, of Great Harwood, passed away in the East Lancashire Hospice on Thursday, November 23 after a short illness, aged 90.
Geoffrey, who took over the family animal feed and haulage business Hanson Feeds Ltd on Victoria Street aged 18, served as chairman of the Great Harwood Agricultural Society’s organising committee for half a century, and more recently was life president.
An executive member of his local Conservative Association, he was presented with the Freedom of Hyndburn award, the borough’s highest accolade, in a service at Accrington Town Hall in May this year, recognising his contribution to the hugely popular annual agricultural show and all round contribution to the town. He was also invited to the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in June this year.
Coun Miles Parkinson, leader of Hyndburn council, described Geoffrey’s passing as “a great loss for the township of Great Harwood and the Great Harwood Agricultural Society.”
He added: “I’m just pleased he received his title of ‘Freeman’ and got to go to the Royal Garden Party - which I know he very much enjoyed. He was a well-known and well-liked businessman, along with his family. He was a gentleman and it’s a great loss for the people of Great Harwood.”
Coun Tony Dobson, leader of Hyndburn’s Conservative group, said: “He was a great campaigner for Great Harwood, the Great Harwood Show and the Conservative Party. He was always full of fun and had passion for all the organisations he represented. It’s a great loss and a sad day indeed.”
Great Harwood Agricultural Society’s committee expressed their “great sadness” at the loss of Geoffrey.
Chairman Stephen Horrocks said: “He served as a stalwart in the society - he worked tirelessly on the committee for over five decades. As a businessman he created employment and jobs for the area, he was a great Tory and was a family friend for years.”
Mayor of Hyndburn Coun Peter Britcliffe said: “It is a very sad loss for the town. Geoffrey will be sorely missed by his many friends in the town.”
His nephew Michael Hanson, 68, said he was instrumental in keeping the Great Harwood Show going.
He said: “He was very enthusiastic about it. To be honest, I thought Geoffrey would live until he was 100 years old. He only stopped working about two months ago.
“He looked a lot younger than he was, you would never have thought he was 90 looking at him. He was very well respected by lots of people and had lots of terrific friends.”
Beloved husband of the late Margaret and treasured father of the late Angela, Geoffrey leaves dearly loved nephew Michael.
His funeral will be held on Saturday, December 2 at 11am at St James’ Church, Altham. Family flowers only please, but donations may be made for Churchfield House, Great Harwood. For arrangements contact Barton & Hallworth Funeral Service, Oswaldtwistle.